Summary: MY316 is a 5 week Small group study put out by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma that we did at our church. It’s a study that focuses on evangelism. I preached 5 sermons that went along with each weeks study.
“Do I have a burden for the lost?”
Baptist Church is a growing church. However, with that said I believe we need to improve when it comes to having a true evangelistic zeal. That means a real burden and concern for lost people all around us. You say, “Why do you say that, pastor?” A church grows three ways. A church grows by what we call “transfer growth” when people who are members of other churches come and join our church whether they are members of local churches or they have moved into town. We thank God for every single person who unites with our church by transfer of their membership. There’s another kind of growth called “biological growth” in which the children of current members come to know the Lord and are baptized, and I thank God for every precious child who learns about Jesus and is baptized. The third kind of growth is the one where we are lacking. That’s called “true conversion growth.” That’s where children, teenagers and adults who really have no church background are brought to Christ by their loving friends and relatives and they are won to Christ and they become a part of the body of Christ. We just don’t have a lot of those people who are coming out of a purely pagan background coming to know Christ.
When I think about our church and about the church in the book of Acts there’s a huge difference. We do so little with so much and that early church in the book of Acts they did so much with so little. They didn’t have padded chairs. They didn’t have microphones. They did not have computers and projectors. They didn’t have beautiful buildings. They didn’t have buses and vans. But, I’ll tell you what they did have: They had the power of the Holy Spirit and they had a concern for lost people. The Bible tells us that there were only 120 of them who gathered in the Upper Room for Pentecost. Jesus was crucified, Jesus went up, the Holy Spirit came down, the Christians went out and the lost came in. How many? 3,000 of them were saved in one day on the day of Pentecost. Then the Bible tells us again the number of the disciples was multiplied, and then it says again another 5,000 were brought to Christ.
The problem today is that a lot of churches grow by the addition method and the church in the book of Acts grew through the multiplication method. What is the difference? Our church is growing by additions which means Sunday after Sunday we have several added here and several added there. But, multiplication means when everybody goes out and they take their faith and share it with others. That’s how a church multiplies. That’s how the church in the book of Acts multiplied. Now, I’m not all that smart in mathematics, but something tells me that if every one of us in this room right now went out and brought somebody with us next Sunday, we’d have approximately twice as many people here next Sunday. That’s multiplication where every person realizes the importance of reaching people for Christ.
This week I’ve been asking God to lay this on our hearts not just today, but every day from here on out. I pray it will be etched upon our soul. I pray to God that it will even torture us somewhat. Because, as a pastor it’s my job to comfort the afflicted but sometimes as a preacher it’s my job to afflict the comfortable when we become so self-satisfied and complacent we can’t be moved into action for Jesus.
I personally believe the apostle, Paul, was the second most influential person who ever walked planet Earth. I think his writings and his life have had more impact on the entire world, second only to Jesus Christ who was a God man. I want us to read in Romans, chapter 9, the first three verses and I want us to see the burden, the concern Paul had for lost people and what we are about to read is utterly amazing! Read Romans 9:1-3. Paul says, “Listen. I am so burdened for my Jewish brothers and sisters to know Christ, I have sorrow in my heart, I have unceasing anguish.” He says, “I would even be willing to be cut off from Christ if it would mean that they would be saved.” That, church, is a powerful statement and a true burden for the lost. As we continue as a church to go through My316 I want to ask each of us four questions today and these questions are not for someone else. These questions are for each one of us. Here’s question number one.